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Shropshire schoolchildren stranded after council 'forgot' to grit roads

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A school bus has been unable to get to a Shropshire village for three weeks because the council "forgot" to grit the roads, a councillor has claimed.

Heather Kidd, Shropshire councillor for Chirbury and Worthen, has accused the authority of overlooking the county's hillier rural parts where the recent snow had lingered once the ice had melted in towns.

She said in particular the village of Priest Weston had not seen a school bus for three weeks due to a combination of roadworks and a lack of arrangements to grit the roads.

But Shropshire Council transport boss Claire Wild said an alternative pick up point was arranged and school attendance was unaffected.

Councillor Kidd said: "The recent blast of wintery weather came and went quite quickly for most of the county.

"But for much of the Bentlawnt, White Grit and Priest Weston area the snow and ice lingered much longer.

"Unfortunately the council seemed to have forgotten much of the area when it came to gritting.

"Priest Weston has not seen the school bus for three weeks because the council first diverted the traffic around road works to an ungritted very steep road and then did not instruct local farmers to go out and grit.

"When residents and myself have complained we have had a variety of excuses.

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"It seems that some people just don't seem to realise that just because the snow has gone from Shirehall other people in the hills are still suffering – especially where gulleys are blocked and the road has been covered in ice.

"If people keep their children from school they are fined but the council aren't if they fail to grit the roads and prevent the children getting to school because their school buses are cancelled."

But Councillor Wild, the council's cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "From January 19 to 30 road works meant that the operator of the school bus could not enter the village and turn the vehicle around.

"As on previous occasions of bad weather and roadworks, the parents were advised by ourselves and the school of an alternative pick up point outside of the village for this temporary period.

"As the roadworks came to an end, the operator of the school bus was concerned about the navigation of the roads in and out of the village because of local weather conditions, therefore the temporary alternative pick up point was retained for a further period.

"Contrary to reports, we can confirm that school attendance was unaffected by the roadworks and we received no comments from parents or schools regarding this," she said.

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